News


During our September ESCA Plenary held in London, Professor Caroline Elliott of Huddersfield University gave an excellent presentation giving an overview of the outcomes from the study we had procured the University to undertake in 2015, under our former name of Subsea Cables UK, on ‘An Economic and Social Evaluation of the UK Subsea Cables Industry’, jointly funded by ESCA and TCE. We are now pleased to advise that the final report has been issued and can be found here: An Economic and Social Evaluation of the UK Subsea Cables Industry



ESCA is pleased to announce the issuance of a Practice Note, produced on our behalf by the legal firm Winckworth Sherwood, offering guidance on the legal and regulatory requirements that have to be met and the environmental factors to be considered when laying, maintaining or repairing submarine power or telecommunication cables.

The focus is on cables in the territorial waters (up to 12 nautical miles from the baseline) of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, but guidance is also given on cables further offshore.

This Practice Note is available upon request via the 'Documents' page.


ESCA Plenary#48 Call for Papers
Monday, 23 January 2017

With our next Plenary due to be held 1st/2nd March 2017 in Bilbao, Spain we have extended the timescales of our call for abstracts on related subsea topics. Further details can be found here: ESCA Plenary#48 Call for Papers


Importance of KIS-ORCA
Friday, 06 January 2017

As members will know, ESCA (SCUK) has always been a great advocate of KIS-ORCA and never has it been more critical to stress its importance to the subsea cable industry from a marine protection perspective. Much can be written but we think these articles from Seafish say it all!

Importance of KIS-ORCA

Why KIS-ORCA?


ESCA Plenary#48 - Call for Papers
Friday, 16 December 2016

With our next Plenary due to be held 1st/2nd March 2017 in Bilbao, Spain we are now calling for abstracts on related subsea topics. Further details can be found here: ESCA Plenary#48 Call for Papers



During our September ESCA Plenary held in London, Professor Caroline Elliott of Huddersfield University gave an excellent presentation giving an overview of the outcomes from the study we had procured the University to undertake on ‘An Economic and Social Evaluation of the UK Subsea Cables Industry’, jointly funded by ESCA and TCE. The final report is presently being reviewed but we thought you might be interested in the excellent press release issued by the University at the following link: http://www.hud.ac.uk/news/2016/september/65bnofukeconomicactivityreliesonsubseacableindustry.php

ESCA will issue its follow-up press release to industry in due course.



In two decades the internet has become part of the fabric of society. It is considered by many to be essential to modern life. A survey by Cisco in 2011 revealed that the internet was as important to some people as food and water.

Like food and water, we take the internet for granted. We just expect it to be there, we expect it to work and we care very little about the infrastructure that delivers the internet to us.

The statistic that still surprises many people is that over 98% of all communications are transported globally via a network of optical fibre submarine cables, and not via satellite. Submarine cables, such as the ones owned and maintained by European Subsea Cables Association http://www.escaeu.org member companies are the backbone of the global internet.

Over the last few years the profile of submarine cables has been improving. Two new cable systems (Hibernia Express, AE Connect) have been built across the Atlantic from America to Europe, the first in over a decade. Also new systems that are been backed by the “Big 4 tech companies” are being built and more are planned.

Unfortunately the increase in publicity of new submarine cables has also resulted in an increase in submarine cable myths that refuse to be dispelled. Every few months a story appears that advises sharks are biting submarine cables or the CIA has submarines tapping cables. Below are the top three myths, and why they’re wrong.

1. Sharks damage submarine cables. http://www.wired.com/2014/08/shark_cable/

It’s a great story guaranteed to be accompanied by a big scary picture of a shark. But there is no evidence that the internet is threatened by sharks. It appeared a few years ago in a story about a new submarine cable with a You Tube clip of a shark being encouraged to bite some kind of cable.

However, a study by the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) of all submarine cable damages from 2007 – 2014 revealed that NO damages whatsoever were attributed to shark activity.

2. Russian submarines are poised to cut submarine cables in the event of conflict. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/26/world/europe/russian-presence-near-undersea-cables-concerns-us.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

A story James Bond or Jason Bourne would be proud of. It emerged late in 2015 that the USA was concerned about Russian ships and submarines loitering around submarine cables, potentially zeroing in on their locations in readiness to cut them and isolate the USA. To implement such a plan Russia would have to cut some 16 cables in the Atlantic and some 18 cables in the Pacific simultaneously. Whilst not impossible, extremely improbable. Also it is worth remembering that Russia is as dependant on the global submarine cable network as much as any other nation.

The location of submarine cables is not secret, apart from the secret ones! Information on cables is given to the fishing industry via projects such as the European focussed http://www.kis-orca.eu, so as to avoid damage to cables and capsizing of fishing boats.

3. U.S. Submarines and/ or other clandestine agencies are tapping submarine cables http://www.popsci.com/linkedin-profile-reveals-nsa-used-submarines-to-spy-on-undersea-cables

Quite simply this can’t be done without being detected by the cable owner. You cannot secretly tap a submarine optical fibre cable without being intrusive to the cable itself.

Light will not escape from an optical fibre unless the fibre is bent to such a degree that the ‘angle of incidence’ of the incoming light exceeds the ‘angle of total internal reflection’ of the fibre cladding.

To do this the cable construction would have to be stripped back to expose the bare optical fibres, this includes cutting through the power core of the cable that powers the repeating equipment. The fibre would need to be bent and detection equipment placed on it to capture any escaped light. The light that escaped would diffuse and not be a coherent beam, as it would of been within the fibre. Modern optical fibres can carry 100x100G wavelengths on each fibre that are complexly modulated http://www.xtera.com/high-level-review-new-modulation-formats-high-capacity-optical-networking/ . The chances of any diffuse light collected by detection equipment that would be readable are very slim.

You would have to do this for every optical fibre within the cables which could be around 12 for a trans-oceanic cable or possibly 300 for a shorter haul cable.

Now that’s not to say that government agencies do not have access to the information carried on the internet, but there are easier ways to do it than trying to tap a submarine optical fibre cable in the depths of the world’s oceans.

Instead of worrying about Russia and submarines, if the governments of the world are really concerned about the protection of submarine cables they should turn their attention to the two main causes of submarine cable damage…………..Fishing and Anchors! Although I think Bond and Bourne may sit that one out.

Peter Jamieson - Chairman, European Subsea Cables Association



We are pleased to announce that our next -bi-annual Plenary will be held over 1.5 days on the 14th/15th September 2016, at K&L Gates LLP offices in central London.

Over 60 delegates from the ESCA membership: submarine cable system owners, maintenance authorities, system manufacturers, cable ship operators, consultants and submarine cable route survey companies from many different countries, will discuss and exchange technical, legal and environmental information affecting the industry.

Confirmed speakers on the agenda include: 

Eugene Bergin, (Mott MacDonald Ltd) – Overview of CIGRE and Power Cables; 

Andrew Thomas, (ETA Connect Ltd) – Challenges Facing The Marine Installer Within The Marine Renewable Power Industry; 

Caroline Elliott (Huddersfield University) – An economic evaluation of the UK subsea cables industry encompassing quantitative and qualitative analyses; 

Brian Greenwood (Winckworth Sherwood LLP) – Subsea Cables - the planning and environmental regulatory process; 

Matthew Frow (Seafish) – Improving offshore awareness & the development of fishermen’s training

Other speakers are Peter Barham – Liaison Officer, Aaron Mair – Fishing Industry Consultant, together with updates from the Chairman and Sub-Group Chairmen.

For further information or if you are thinking of becoming a member, please review the website and/or contact us at: secretary@escaeu.org



The European Subsea Cables Association (ESCA) has today announced their formation as “the” European trade association for all telecommunication and power subsea cables.

The new association has emerged from what was formally Subsea Cables UK. It is a forum of European companies that own, operate and maintain subsea cables or provide services for the subsea cable industry within European and surrounding waters.

The principal goal of ESCA is the promotion of marine safety, safeguarding of subsea cables from man-made and natural hazards and protecting the rights of operators to install and maintain cables.

Peter Jamieson of Virgin Media and Chairman of the European Subsea Cables Association advised: “The requirement to form this new association has come from our membership and it was the logical evolution of the organisation. Close to 50% of the old UK association members were non-UK. Therefore, we can better serve our members by becoming a more regional association”.

Colin Rayman of Red Penguin Associates and ESCA Executive Committee Member advised: “The formation of a European Submarine Cable Association will mean we can now reach out further to enhance our European Maritime and Fishing liaison with Government Departments and Associations with similar interests, and to move closer to attaining mutual understanding of our industries, sharing the seabed safely and maintaining the integrity of assets.”

ESCA provides guidance and technical papers freely to members for the benefit of the sector. The membership of the organisation contains expertise from all areas of the industry and convene bi-annually to share ideas and information.

If you are a marine cable owner, operator, consultant or supplier and are interested in joining the European Subsea Cables Association, please either contact our Chairman or Secretary via the ‘Contacts’ section of the website or download the Membership Application Form, also available on the website via the 'About Us' section.



The European Subsea Cables Association has produced a position statement on OSPAR's publication “Guidelines on Best Environmental Practice (BEP) in Cable Laying and Operation” and can be found here: OSPAR BEP



The European Subsea Cables Association, “the” trade association for submarine power and telecommunications cables for the United Kingdom and Northern Europe, announces the launch of two new guidelines.

Guideline No.14 – Power Cable Installation and Guideline No.17 – Testing of AC & DC Subsea Power Cables.

The Guidance has been compiled by a very knowledgeable team from within the European Subsea Cables Association membership and is free to all members.

Tony Zymelka of Zytech Ltd. Chair of the working group that produced the guidance commented “The combined experience of subsea cables that the team and the European Subsea Cables Association bring to these documents has been accumulated over many hundreds of years and many tens of thousands of kilometres of all types of subsea cables installed.

Peter Jamieson of Virgin Media. Chairman of the European Subsea Cables Association added. We have a long history of producing valuable industry guidance that is welcomed globally. Industry experts that are members of the European Subsea Cables Association have freely given their time and experience in the compilation of this guidance for the benefit of all concerned with the subsea cable industry.



So that you are kept updated with any news releases related to the work of the European Subsea Cables Association, please do follow us on LinkedIn by clicking on the tab at the top of the page. Thank you.


Kis-Orca Article in 'Real Power' Magazine
Thursday, 27 November 2014

Please take some time to read the Autumn issue of 'Real Power' Magazine, where the excellent article on the Kis-Orca Project very much reinforces the critical importance of the project, in terms of the safety of fishermen at sea and protection of offshore assets. Additional information on the Kis-Orca Project can be found on its website at http://www.kis-orca.eu


SUDG Newsletter
Tuesday, 11 November 2014

We are pleased to advise that the latest SUDG Newsletter is available from their website at http://www.sudg.org.uk. You may be particularly interested in the article on page 4 titled 'Connecting Our World', which includes a quote from our Chairman, Peter Jamieson.



Submarine cables (telecommunications and power) are critical to the UK and Europe’s future digital economy and energy needs. To many people submarine cable infrastructure is unseen and little thought about. When articles about submarine cables are written they tend to contain spurious information about shark bites or being tapped by the worlds clandestine security agencies. Some people still think most international communications are carried by satellite!

The European Subsea Cables Association have therefore produced two articles, one on telecommunication cables and one on power cables. The articles are non-technical in nature and are intending to be an informative and easy read.

The articles can be viewed on our website or are available to download and can be freely distributed.

Please click the following links to download:

Submarine Telecommunications Cables

Submarine Power Cables



The European Subsea Cables Association Position Statement on post cable lay trawl sweeps can be found here: ESCA Position Statement



From 1st April 2014, Scottish fishermen will have access to Faroese waters following the first EU/Faroe fishing agreement since 2010.



'SHEFA Faroes, a member of Subsea Cables UK and a subsidiary of the Faroese telecoms industry, will be distributing the latest information on the position of submarine telecoms cables by handing out free discs and memory sticks to skippers and vessel agents next week during a five day tour of Scotland.

The visit is in conjunction with the distribution of KIS-ORCA disks which are available free from the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation, Kingfisher/Seafish, or available for download from the KIS-ORCA website: http://www.KIS-ORCA.org.

Produced at considerable cost, this additional information distribution was decided by SHEFA after their subsea cable running from Orkney to Banff, which is used to transmit vital and important information, was damaged on three occasions in 2013 after exposed sections were inadvertently snagged by trawlers.

Following these incidents, SHEFA commissioned Kingfisher/Seafish to produce new information in the form of discs and pen drives displaying the cable and highlighting areas where it is not buried and liable to damage.

The updated information will be distributed free by Aaron Mair of Port Hill Marine Ltd. who will be visiting as many ports and fishing businesses as possible from Monday 20th until Friday 24th January to highlight the SHEFA cable and the new information available. Aaron Mair will be accompanied during the tour of Scotland by SHEFA Project Manager Brian Rosendahl.

Run by Aaron Mair, skipper/owner of the Buckie seine netter Astra BCK 67 and the beamer Amoria BCK 36 for 15 years before working with the MMO for 9 years, Port Hill Marine Ltd is contracted as fisheries advisor to the Subsea Cable UK (SCUK) industry including renewables.

The European Subsea Cables Association are the consultative body for the UK Subsea Cable industry representing all the major stakeholders such as BT, Virgin Media, Centrica, Vodafone, Dong, SSE, and many more. The European Subsea Cables Association has a membership of some 40 cable owners and developers. There exists a healthy relationship between the European Subsea Cables Association and SFF and in 2013 both parties signed up to a Memorandum of Understanding in order to progress common understanding between the two industries.

Aaron Mair can be contacted on 01670 542851 and Brain Rosendahl on 00298 243602'



We are pleased to advise that a 'Subsea Cables UK Leaflet' providing more information on the work of the European Subsea Cables Association is now available for download.


KIS-ORCA
Saturday, 09 March 2013

The new KIS-ORCA website has gone live! Please visit http://www.kis-orca.eu/

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